Los Angeles police find 2,800 stolen Lego sets

Image source, Los Angeles Police Department

Legend, Detectives found more than 2,800 boxes of Legos, ranging in price from $20 to more than $1,000 (£16 to more than £786)

  • Author, Christal Hayes
  • Role, BBC News, Washington

Two people have been arrested in California as part of an alleged Lego theft ring after police found more than 2,800 stolen sets.

Police said Friday they found boxes of Legos stacked to the ceiling in a man’s home in Long Beach, just south of Los Angeles.

Toys ranged in price from $20 to over $1,000 (£16 to over £786).

Richard Siegel, 71, and Blanca Gudino, 39, were arrested in connection with a series of organized retail thefts dating back several months, according to Los Angeles police.

Authorities opened an investigation in December after a store reported a series of thefts. Loss prevention staff at the store identified Gudino as the suspect, police said.

Officers said they observed Ms. Gudino taking items from the same retailer in several areas this week and then giving the sets to Mr. Siegel at his Long Beach home.

Detectives searched the house Wednesday and found more than 2,800 boxes of Legos. While officers were conducting searches, police said potential buyers of the toys arrived at the home “attracted by advertisements placed by Siegel on Internet shopping sites.”

It is not clear whether Mr. Siegel and Ms. Gudino had attorneys.

Image source, Los Angeles Police Department

Legend, Los Angeles police used a box truck to remove Lego sets from a home in Long Beach, California.

Photos from the investigation show meticulously organized Lego sets in a home, with boxes covering artwork on the walls and a fireplace.

The Legos included popular sets from the Star Wars franchise like the Millennium Falcon, which costs almost $850 online (£668), and the R2-D2, which ranges in price from $100 to $200 online (£79 at £157). There were also sets from the Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future franchises.

Siegel faces a charge of organized retail theft and Gudino faces a charge of grand theft.

Expensive Legos have become a popular target for thieves, especially as the sets have evolved from a child’s toy to a popular hobby for adults.

In April, four suspects were arrested after authorities discovered approximately $300,000 in stolen Lego merchandise, according to the California Highway Patrol. The suspects are accused of stealing Lego sets for cars, motorcycles, Star Wars items and Minecraft products for resale.

Also in Southern California this year, more than $100,000 in Legos were stolen from retailer Bricks & Minifigs, a specialty store that sells new and used Legos, according to BBC News partner CBS News .

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